Nothing interesting ever seems to happen . . . until now

An excerpt from Paul Loewen’s latest novel, The Good Morning Man

February 29, 2012 | Young Voices
Paul Loewen |

The long grass in the field ahead of her hadn’t been mowed in months, maybe even years. Across the field was an old swing set, a boy swinging back and forth with a goofy grin on his face. Asia waved at him and he waved back. For a fleeting instant she wondered what kind of pain he experienced in life, thinking about what it would be like to be him.

Her house was on the right and she weaved her way through some broken toys littering the front yard. A small bike completely blocked the path and she stepped over it, instead of moving it, then kicked a soccer ball at the side of the house. A flake of paint fell off where the ball hit, but she didn’t even notice. The front door creaked on its rusty hinges—her mom had never had the money to fix it. If they did, they wouldn’t be living there.

“Asia, honey, you home?” came her mom’s sweet voice.

“Yup,” Asia responded.

“How was school?” her mom asked, coming bustling around the corner with an apron around her neck, wringing her hands with the bottom of it. Her feet were in woolly slippers, sliding on the old hardwood floor. She grabbed Asia’s backpack off her back, slipped it onto the hook by the front door, and pulled out Asia’s lunch at the same time.

“Same old, same old,” Asia said.

“Anything else happen, dear?” her mom asked, already moving out of the front entrance, clearly not anticipating an abnormal response.

“Nope, not at all,” Asia answered, the same four words she had said for as long as she could remember. Nothing happened in their lazy river town, nothing ever happened at all.

“Jordan’s not doing well,” Asia said. “And it hurts to watch. He’s losing more hair. The therapy isn’t working—at least, it didn’t last time, and I doubt it will this time. He’s getting worse and worse. There are times when he has energy—like this morning—but they’re few and far between. Usually he mopes around. And it’s rubbing off on me. It’s rubbing off on Mom. We’re starting to all get dragged down. And we can’t help it. We try our best, during the good times, to pretend like nothing is happening. But then something reminds us and we all shoot off, so frustrated.”

“You can’t, you can’t,” Sherri was saying, but she couldn’t finish her words. Where before she had talked for five minutes without stopping to breathe, now she was speechless. This was Asia and her brother’s cross to bear alone.

They reached the end of the bridge and stepped off the wood onto gravel. “Welcome to the East Side,” Sherri mumbled, clearly not proud of her surroundings.

“Hey,” Asia said, “it’s not like West is much better.”

“This place is a dump,” Sherri said. “I’m surprised there’s still people here.”

“Sometimes,” Asia said, “sometimes the best things can come from the weirdest places.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m not so sure,” Asia said, “but I think something’s about to happen.”

“Really?” They hit the road and turned right. The ditches were overgrown, but showing through the long blades of grass were raised manhole covers painted a shiny black. “What does this place have to look forward to?”

Asia felt it bubble up from inside of her, the frustration at Jordan’s sickness and the pain of living in a small town where nothing—good or bad—ever seemed to happen. Life ticked by one day at a time, slowly passing with nothing, nothing ever happening. And then it all burst forth, a torrent of water rushing out from a dam, in a barrage of words that she couldn’t contain.

“Something’s changing, Sherri. I can feel it. It has to do with Jordan. It has to do with me. It has to do with everyone in this town. And I’m going to be the one to bring it about—to figure it out. Something’s happening, Sherri, I can feel it!”

Her twelve-year-old voice rang out; a dog they couldn’t see barked in the distance.

“I don’t know what’s got into you, Asia, but whatever it is—well, I like it!”

The moment of inspiration over, both Asia and Sherri began laughing out loud. A laugh that couldn’t be contained. A laugh that carried through the chilly air of fall, reverberating over rocks, empty fields, the expanse of water separating East from West, up the bank, over the dike that protected the town, through the trees, across another field, and into the back window of a small apartment unit where, fork raised partway to his mouth with a bite of pie, an older gentleman with a spring in his step heard it, cocked his head to the side to listen, and began to laugh with Asia.

Paul Loewen works as a youth pastor with his wife in Winnipeg. He writes theological fiction and believes story has the power to change lives. His work can be found online at and at

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